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The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Student Reactions to Winona State’s Next Top President: Three Finalists

Photo contributed by the Post Bulletin
Shown are the three finalists for the position of Winona State University’s President. Left to Right: Mary Bonderoff, Karim Ismaili and Kenneth Janz.

Among the hectic schedule right before spring break, a heated conversation is going on between the students at Winona State University. Who will be the next President? As of today, three candidates have been finalized: Mary Bonderoff, the acting president of State University of New York, Delhi, Karim Ismaili, served as the executive vice president and provost of Bridgewater State University, and Kenneth Janz, currently the interim president of Winona State University.

When asking the students about their opinion on the presidential candidates, mostly mixed responses were received. Everyone had something to say or add to the list. Some voiced their desire to see diversity, and on the other hand, some wanted their favorite to take the win. Though in general, they hope the president would make the improvements that need to be done instead of changing what they are already comfortable with.

Afrini Hossain, the Equity and Inclusive Excellence Chair of Student Senate, stated that students need a president who is communicative and involved with student leaders such as Student Senate. Hossain explained that this involvement will allow the president to be more mindful of student needs and how to improve the quality of students’ lives.

“Kenneth Janz has been the interim president of Winona State University since August 2023; he has worked here since way before that. As an acting president, he communicates with the Student Senate, alongside he interacts with students on campus often. So, it would be great if he gets elected, as he is already familiar with both the internal and external affairs and knows how and what to improve as a president that will help our university’s future,” Hossain said.

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The point was made clear that students don’t want a president who won’t prioritize their needs. A president who brings unnecessary changes just to try to make their place is highly unwanted. They rather want an interactive president, who would interact with them, learn from the students themselves about what might be the best for the future of their own and the university.

“As long as it doesn’t affect jobs or schooling, I don’t mind. Or as long as they’re not racist or homophobic,” said Serena Witt, a Geoscience major at Winona State University.

While some students want a president who might know them well or have worked with them, there is a crowd that want inclusivity and diversity where racism or homophobia doesn’t exist. Quite a few international students hope to see a little bit more diversity. Though some were hesitant to comment on this matter, one said “It would be great to see a change. Someone from more of a diverse background.” They hope through this election there is a change in how international students get to be involved on campus.

In general, it is clearly visible that students connect more to Kenneth Janz; it may come off as biasness, but it purely comes from the efforts and work he has put in all these years working with the students at Winona State University and in the past year as interim president. Asked about opinion on the election, most of the responses started with how good of a person Dr. Janz is.

“Janz is a sweetie, and he encourages students to the lead,” said Payden Bainbridge, Student Services Chair of Student Senate. When asked why it is the majority only speak of him when having a conversation about him, “Because Janz already has an impact on us and the campus,” Payden responded.

Another student, Sharron Johnson who has also been working at WSU added, “I haven’t actually looked at the president election, because I want Kenneth Janz as the president. I have known him through work for years. His work ethic is top notch, and he truly cares about the university.  He was one of the hardest working individuals when covid hit us, worked every day to make sure we could pivot to meet student/faculty/staffs needs. And as interim he is active and present and doing a great job trying to push us forward.”

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Sariha Khaled
Sariha Khaled, Features writer

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